Rome: Total War, review by herodotus

Points: 32536
SI Herodotus

A great simulation/ strategy/ tactical production, but you should see it modded!!!

When I first played "RTW" I felt it actually wasn't better than "Medieval-Total War", in fact it was a step backward. I was looking forward to a 'Romanized' version of "MTW", not a 3D upgraded "Imperial Glory" kind of game. I had just finished playing Pyro's "Praetorian" so was still stuck in the mind-set of that game and its' graphical presentation. So I took the game back to the store for a refund.
I read more reviews, found out things I hadn't realized were in the game, so I bought it again and this time it smacked me in the face.
"Holy ****!!!", I thought to myself...and smiled. This was good stuff. But the battles still seemed to lack something, as did the whole strategical element. The graphics were great, but all the Julii were red, Brutii - green, Saxons - blue, Germans - pink, etc. Nothing historical in that at all. And no blood in all this supposed carnage. There were huge historical inaccuracies (the Scythians were in fact ruled by their Sarmation faction in this period, and the Egyptians were called Ptolemites after Pharoah Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great's ex-generals), and the Spanish were actually named Iberians. The maps weren't correct either. I'm a qualified Historian, so these 'minor' discrepencies really were quite jarring.
There is a web site called "Rome-Total Realism" & these modders saw the same problems. So I modded my "RTW" with "Rome-Total Realism" ver.4.0 plus a blood mod. The soldiers were re-skinned, so no more generic colours, the maps were historically more correct, and the whole game was now far more in line with what we now know in Ancient History as fact. Then came "RTR" ver 6.2., and everything changed.
The Senate is destroyed at the very start of any campaign. There is only one Roman faction, and Carthage is one tough SOB. The Greeks are in slow decline (and have almost absorbed the once-great Macedonia), yet still a nasty and expansive force to contend with. There are also quite a few new civilizations available. The game now begins in 280 B.C. and is painfully detailed in it's authenticity. Every military unit is now re-skinned and the maps are spot-on. When you march your Roman force against the Gauls now, your force may be made up of Italian Swordsmen, Gallic Slingers, Greek Hoplite mercenaries, Roman Triarii (very much altered from "RTW"), and any other number of troops you have either purchased as mercenaries or trained in Italy (the capital of which is Roma). They are now totally different from the original units in presentation and abilities. No archers for you until you really expand to the South or East to Greece. Here you are privy to the Macedonian left-overs too (Phalanxes, for eg.)
The upshot of all of this is that I am still playing this game 12 months later (and a lot longer than if it was still just "RTW"). "RTW" is a great game, however I don't support the Expansion Pack at all. Please do yourselves a huge favour and mod it to "RTR" 6.2. You truly will be amazed at the detailed changes. If you are 'into' history you owe it to yourself.
Posted on 12/20/2007 13:30
9.3 perfect